This story begins way back in the early months of starting our blog, about 4 months ago. Sue Edelstein, on the board at Litchfield Hills Rowing Club saw what we were about to embark on and wanted in right away. Sue has excellent foresight. She wanted us to come and experience the joys of rowing so that we could spread the word. She’s extremely enthusiastic and passionate about the rowing experience, so of course we said yes. But first we had to do some pre-training to get us ready to get on the water come spring…which at that time seemed like a million days away!
Sue asked us to come to the rowing club’s indoor, off water training facility (which is currently undergoing some upgrading and expansion) at 607 Bantam Road, Litchfield, to get “on the ERG”. “Ok,” we said, even though we had no idea what an ERG was. Easy Rowing Group? Ergonomically correct? Nope. The indoor rowing machine is an ergometer, or ERG for short. So now we know. (Lora’s note: being a coffee addict, I conned Bev into stopping for an iced coffee on the way up to the facility. So when we walked in, Sue said, “did you bring your waters?” to which we replied, “no, but we have iced coffee!” Ok, so at least we had some hydration!)
We met our rowing instructors for the evening, Kynan and Dave, who taught us, “Legs, hips, arms, arms, hips, legs”. We thought we had a pretty good grasp of it until a couple of members near us went head to head to out row each other – holy ERG – it made us look like we were just row, row, rowing our boat gently down the stream.
The ERG is a full body workout, working quads, hamstrings, glutes, lats, core, shoulders, triceps, back and biceps AND great cardio…hmmm maybe I should buy one of these things…and if the thought of it makes you think snooze fest, rowing to nowhere, like running on a treadmill, think again. The group is highly entertaining and there’s a lot of good friendly competition going on. They seem like a close group who welcome in all newbies.
With that lesson complete, all we had to do was wait for the lake to not be frozen. That day came, and then some time later we made our way up to Bantam Lake on “National Learn To Row Day” for our on water lesson! First we toured the boathouse and get to see some of the boats up close. Wowee, they are long, and they are NARROW!! We’re wondering how well our boat is going to stay upright!
Before we can think about it for too long, it’s our turn to get on the water. We get in our boat with about 6 other beginners and some experienced club members on each end, bow and stern (impressed?). We start by just plain holding on to our oar (and unlike the song, we are instructed to never let it go). We have one oar each, which is sweep rowing, as opposed to sculling – two oars, one in each hand. See, we learn something new every blog post.
Lora and I are up first to show off our hour of training. Perhaps it was stage fright, perhaps I was over-thinking it…but I managed to do a booty out, arms forward, completely backwards row…which our fabulous teacher Dave managed to correct with gentle words and patience…and then went on to tell the next 2 rowers that one of them was doing “the Beverley.” Snort! I have a row named after me, yahoo, ok it’s for doing it completely wrong, but I’m somehow proud.
Our first taste of being out in the water gave us a whole new perspective on just how much concentration and focus it takes to work in a team to get that boat moving forward. We could completely understand how it could become a passion, especially when you can enjoy the Zen of being out on water, with a heron flying over head, at one with nature and doing the body and brain a lot of good.
It’s never too late to try something new!
Contact Jeff Stone, President of the club, to give it a try – 612.209.9867
All photos by Lora Warnick, except pictures of Lora & Bev by Tim Lenz.
Website : www.litchfieldhillsrowing.org